On Oct. 3, Juul Labs filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) seeking to “bar entry into the United States of certain electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and components thereof, namely certain nicotine delivery devices and pods.”
The USITC complaint alleges that 18 vapor companies have products that infringe on one or more of four U.S. patents held by Juul Labs. The companies mentioned in the complaint include J Well France, Bo Vaping, The Electronic Tobacconist, EonSmoke, Xfire, Flair Vapor, Myle Vape, Vapor Hub, King Distribution, as well as several others including numerous China-based manufacturers.
Also on Oct. 3, Juul Labs filed suit against J Well France, among others, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York for patent infringement of the four named patents in the USITC complaint The case is currently in its initial stages. The company also filed suit in several other U.S. district courts against several of the other manufacturers named in the USITC complaint.
On Oct. 4, Juul Labs is expected to file suit against Electric Tobacconist in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado for patent infringement of the four patents named in the USITC complaint.
For the encroachment on Juul Labs’ intellectual property, Juul Labs is seeking a permanent limited exclusion order and a permanent cease-and-desist order from the USITC. The cease-and-desist order would prohibit the accused manufacturers “from importing, marketing, distributing, repairing, providing warranty services, selling, offering for sale; or selling after importation into the United States ENDS products including devices, pods, and all components thereof, that infringe the Asserted Patents.”
The accused products “include at least the Bo Group’s Bo One and Bo+ devices and pods (also called “Bo Caps”); Eonsmoke Group’s Eonsmoke and Eonsmoke v2.0 devices and pods, as well as 4X pods; the Ziip Group’s Ziip devices (also called “ZDevice”) and pods (also called “ZPods”), as well as Plus Pods; the XFite Group’s XFire devices and pods; the Flair Group’s Flair Xtreme devices and pods; the Myle Group’s Myle devices and pods; the Pulse Group’s Pulse (also called “Ply Rock”) devices and pods; and the 3X Group’s 3X pods,” according to the complaint.
The complaint also states that Juul labs has adopted a comprehensive marketing code, with strict guidelines, to help ensure that Juul marketing is directed only toward existing adult smokers. Beyond these safeguards, Juul Labs has also committed at least $30 million over three years toward youth prevention.
The companies Juul is seeking to prevent from selling their products, however, “appear to do little-to-nothing to verify the age of their online customers. As a result, the requested remedy would likely help to keep ENDS out of the hands of underage users, benefiting the public health and welfare,” the complaint states.
The complaint also states that Juul Labs’ nicotine formulation and final pod manufacturing, including mixing, quality control analysis, pod filling, sealing, and packaging are all performed in the United States, subject to rigorous, U.S. Food and Drug Administration-mandated standards. This has created high-skill jobs for Americans as a result “and maintains high-quality standards” for their products.
“By contrast, the companies named in the complaint as “Respondents” has most of their manufacturing taking “place outside the United States, providing few if any American jobs. Respondents’ foreign manufacturing activities involve unknown materials and ingredients and unknown quality standards. The requested remedy will increase American jobs, while removing low-quality ENDS from the market,” the complaint states.